[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activation of the Notch pathway in neurons is essential for learning and memory in various species from invertebrates to mammals. However, it remains unclear how Notch signaling regulates neuronal plasticity, and whether the transcriptional regulator and canonical pathway effector RBP-J plays a role. Here we report that conditional disruption of RBP-J in the postnatal hippocampus leads to defects in long-term potentiation (LTP), long-term depression (LTD), and in learning and memory. Using gene expression profiling and chromatin immunoprecipitation, we identified two GABA transporters, GAT2 and BGT1, as putative Notch/RBP-J pathway targets, which may function downstream of RBP-J to limit the accumulation of GABA in the Schaffer collateral pathway. Our results reveal an essential role for canonical Notch/RBP-J signaling in hippocampal synaptic plasticity and suggest that role, at least in part, is mediated by the regulation of GABAergic signaling. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) increases with neuronal activity that accompanies synaptic development and function. Transcription-related factors and metabolic enzymes that are expressed in all tissues have been described to counteract neuronal ROS to prevent oxidative damage. Here, we describe the antioxidant gene LanCL1 that is prominently enriched in brain neurons. Its expression is developmentally regulated and induced by neuronal activity, neurotrophic factors implicated in neuronal plasticity and survival, and oxidative stress. Genetic deletion of LanCL1 causes enhanced accumulation of ROS in brain, as well as development-related lipid, protein, and DNA damage; mitochondrial dysfunction; and apoptotic neurodegeneration. LanCL1 transgene protects neurons from ROS. LanCL1 protein purified from eukaryotic cells catalyzes the formation of thioether products similar to glutathione S-transferase. These studies reveal a neuron-specific glutathione defense mechanism that is essential for neuronal function and survival.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuronal activity regulated pentraxin (Narp) is a secreted protein implicated in regulating synaptic plasticity via its association with the extracellular surface of AMPA receptors. We found robust Narp immunostaining in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) that is largely restricted to small diameter neurons, and in the superficial layers of the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. In double staining studies of DRG, we found that Narp is expressed in both IB4- and CGRP-positive neurons, markers of distinct populations of nociceptive neurons. Although a panel of standard pain behavioral assays were unaffected by Narp deletion, we found that Narp knockout mice displayed an exaggerated microglia/macrophage response in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord to sciatic nerve transection 3days after surgery compared with wild type mice. As other members of the pentraxin family have been implicated in regulating innate immunity, these findings suggest that Narp, and perhaps other neuronal pentraxins, also regulate inflammation in the nervous system.
Journal of Neuroimmunology 06/2014; · 2.79 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The word "memory" is derived from the ancient Greek myth of Mnemosyne, the mother of the Muses, who was "said to know everything, past, present, and future." Memory is essential to our existence, and one of neuroscience's primary missions is to understand how the brain processes memory and to improve treatments for Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury, drug addiction, and the many other afflictions associated with disrupted memory. Our article traces scientists' progress in understanding memory over the last 15 years.
Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science 01/2014; 2014:2.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Shank3 gene encodes a scaffolding protein that anchors multiple elements of the postsynaptic density at the synapse. Previous attempts to delete the Shank3 gene have not resulted in a complete loss of the predominant naturally occurring Shank3 isoforms. We have now characterized a homozygous Shank3 mutation in mice that deletes exon 21, including the Homer binding domain. In the homozygous state, deletion of exon 21 results in loss of the major naturally occurring Shank3 protein bands detected by C-terminal and N-terminal antibodies, allowing us to more definitively examine the role of Shank3 in synaptic function and behavior. This loss of Shank3 leads to an increased localization of mGluR5 to both synaptosome and postsynaptic density-enriched fractions in the hippocampus. These mice exhibit a decrease in NMDA/AMPA excitatory postsynaptic current ratio in area CA1 of the hippocampus, reduced long-term potentiation in area CA1, and deficits in hippocampus-dependent spatial learning and memory. In addition, these mice also exhibit motor-coordination deficits, hypersensitivity to heat, novelty avoidance, altered locomotor response to novelty, and minimal social abnormalities. These data suggest that Shank3 isoforms are required for normal synaptic transmission/plasticity in the hippocampus, as well as hippocampus-dependent spatial learning and memory.
Journal of Neuroscience 11/2013; 33(47):18448-18468. · 6.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Down syndrome (DS) is among the most frequent genetic causes of intellectual disability, and ameliorating this deficit is a major goal in support of people with trisomy 21. The Ts65Dn mouse recapitulates some major brain structural and behavioral phenotypes of DS, including reduced size and cellularity of the cerebellum and learning deficits associated with the hippocampus. We show that a single treatment of newborn mice with the Sonic hedgehog pathway agonist SAG 1.1 (SAG) results in normal cerebellar morphology in adults. Further, SAG treatment at birth rescued phenotypes associated with hippocampal deficits that occur in untreated adult Ts65Dn mice. This treatment resulted in behavioral improvements and normalized performance in the Morris water maze task for learning and memory. SAG treatment also produced physiological effects and partially rescued both N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-dependent synaptic plasticity and NMDA/AMPA receptor ratio, physiological measures associated with memory. These outcomes confirm an important role for the hedgehog pathway in cerebellar development and raise the possibility for its direct influence in hippocampal function. The positive results from this approach suggest a possible direction for therapeutic intervention to improve cognitive function for this population.
Science translational medicine 09/2013; 5(201):201ra120. · 14.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the fact that binge alcohol drinking (intake resulting in blood alcohol concentrations80 mg% within a 2-h period) is the most prevalent form of alcohol use disorders (AUD), a large knowledge gap exists regarding how this form of AUD impacts neural circuits mediating alcohol reinforcement. The present study employed integrative approaches to examine the functional relevance of binge drinking-induced changes in glutamate receptors, their associated scaffolding, and certain signaling molecules within the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA). A 30-day history of binge alcohol drinking (eg, 4-5 g/kg/2-h) elevated CeA levels of mGluR1, GluN2B, Homer2a/b, and phospholipase C (PLC) β3, without significantly altering protein expression within the adjacent basolateral amygdala. An intra-CeA infusion of mGluR1, mGluR5 and PLC inhibitors all dose-dependently reduced binge intake, without influencing sucrose drinking. The effects of co-infusing mGluR1 and PLC inhibitors were additive, while those of co-inhibiting mGluR5 and PLC were not, indicating that the efficacy of mGluR1 blockade to lower binge intake involves a pathway independent of PLC activation. The efficacy of mGluR1, mGluR5 and PLC inhibitors to reduce binge intake depended upon intact Homer2 expression as revealed through neuropharmacological studies of Homer2 null mutant mice. Collectively, these data indicate binge alcohol-induced increases in Group1 mGluR signaling within the CeA as a neuroadaptation maintaining excessive alcohol intake, which may contribute to the propensity to binge drink.Neuropsychopharmacology accepted article preview online, 21 August 2013. doi:10.1038/npp.2013.214.
Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 08/2013; · 8.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Synaptic plasticity induced by cocaine and other drugs underlies addiction. Here we elucidate molecular events at synapses that cause this plasticity and the resulting behavioral response to cocaine in mice. In response to D1-dopamine-receptor signaling that is induced by drug administration, the glutamate-receptor protein metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) is phosphorylated by microtubule-associated protein kinase (MAPK), which we show potentiates Pin1-mediated prolyl-isomerization of mGluR5 in instances where the product of an activity-dependent gene, Homer1a, is present to enable Pin1-mGluR5 interaction. These biochemical events potentiate N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)-mediated currents that underlie synaptic plasticity and cocaine-evoked motor sensitization as tested in mice with relevant mutations. The findings elucidate how a coincidence of signals from the nucleus and the synapse can render mGluR5 accessible to activation with consequences for drug-induced dopamine responses and point to depotentiation at corticostriatal synapses as a possible therapeutic target for treating addiction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The immediate early gene neuronal activity-regulated pentraxin (NARP) is an α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor (AMPAR) binding protein that is specifically enriched at excitatory synapses onto fast-spiking parvalbumin-positive interneurons (FS [PV] INs). Here, we show that transgenic deletion of NARP decreases the number of excitatory synaptic inputs onto FS (PV) INs and reduces net excitatory synaptic drive onto FS (PV) INs. Accordingly, the visual cortex of NARP(-/-) mice is hyperexcitable and unable to express ocular dominance plasticity, although many aspects of visual function are unimpaired. Importantly, the number and strength of inhibitory synaptic contacts from FS (PV) INs onto principle neurons in the visual cortex is normal in NARP(-/-) mice, and enhancement of this output recovers the expression of experience-dependent synaptic plasticity. Thus the recruitment of inhibition from FS (PV) INs plays a central role in enabling the critical period for ocular dominance plasticity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Synaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) is a key mechanism involved in learning and memory, and its alteration is associated with mental disorders. Shank3 is a major postsynaptic scaffolding protein that orchestrates dendritic spine morphogenesis, and mutations of this protein lead to mental retardation and autism spectrum disorders. In the present study we investigated the role of a new Shank3-associated protein in LTP. We identified the Rho-GAP interacting CIP4 homolog 2 (Rich2) as a new Shank3 partner by proteomic screen. Using single-cell bioluminescence resonance energy transfer microscopy, we found that Rich2-Shank3 interaction is increased in dendritic spines of mouse cultured hippocampal neurons during LTP. We further characterized Rich2 as an endosomal recycling protein that controls AMPA receptor GluA1 subunit exocytosis and spine morphology. Knock-down of Rich2 with siRNA, or disruption of the Rich2-Shank3 complex using an interfering mimetic peptide, inhibited the dendritic spine enlargement and the increase in GluA1 subunit exocytosis typical of LTP. These results identify Rich2-Shank3 as a new postsynaptic protein complex involved in synaptic plasticity.
Journal of Neuroscience 06/2013; 33(23):9699-9715. · 6.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dynamic but temporally distinct regulation of different Homer isoforms and their interaction with mGluR5 contribute to long-lasting increases in excitatory synaptic efficacy that underlies neuropathic pain. Abstract While group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) and ionotropic N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors regulate nociception, the precise molecular mechanism(s) contributing to glutamate signaling in chronic pain remain unclear. Here we not only confirmed the key involvement of Homer proteins in neuropathic pain, but also distinguished between the functional roles for different Homer family members and isoforms. Chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve induced long-lasting, time-dependent increases in the postsynaptic density expression of the constitutively expressed (CC) isoforms Homer1b/c and/or Homer2a/b in the spinal dorsal horn and supraspinal structures involved in nociception (prefrontal cortex, thalamus), that co-occurred with increases in their associated mGluRs, NR2 subunits of the NMDA receptor, and the activation of downstream kinases. Virus-mediated overexpression of Homer1c and Homer2b after spinal (intrathecal) virus injection exacerbated CCI-induced mechanical and cold hypersensitivity, however, Homer1 and Homer2 gene knockout (KO) mice displayed no changes in their neuropathic phenotype. In contrast, overexpression of the immediate early gene (IEG) Homer1a isoform reduced, while KO of Homer1a gene potentiated neuropathic pain hypersensitivity. Thus, nerve injury-induced increases in CC-Homers expression promote pain in pathological states, but IEG-Homer induction protects against both the development and maintenance of neuropathy. Additionally, exacerbated pain hypersensitivity in transgenic mice with reduced Homer binding to mGluR5 supports also an inhibitory role for Homer interactions with mGluR5 in mediating neuropathy. Such data indicate that nerve injury-induced changes in glutamate receptor/Homer signaling contribute in dynamic but distinct ways to neuropathic pain processing, which has relevance for the etiology of chronic pain symptoms and its treatment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Motor recovery after ischemic stroke in primary motor cortex is thought to occur in part through training-enhanced reorganization in undamaged premotor areas, enabled by reductions in cortical inhibition. Here we used a mouse model of focal cortical stroke and a double lesion approach to test the idea that a medial premotor area (medial agranular cortex [AGm]) reorganizes to mediate recovery of prehension, and that this reorganization is associated with a reduction in inhibitory interneuron markers. METHODS: C57Bl/6 mice were trained to perform a skilled prehension task to an asymptotic level of performance after which they underwent photocoagulation-induced stroke in the caudal forelimb area. The mice were then retrained and inhibitory interneuron immunofluorescence was assessed in prechosen, anatomically defined neocortical areas. Mice then underwent a second photocoagulation-induced stroke in AGm. RESULTS: Focal caudal forelimb area stroke led to a decrement in skilled prehension. Training-associated recovery of prehension was associated with a reduction in parvalbumin, calretinin, and calbindin expression in AGm. Subsequent infarction of AGm led to reinstatement of the original deficit. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that with training, AGm can reorganize after a focal motor stroke and serve as a new control area for prehension. Reduced inhibition may represent a marker for reorganization or it is necessary for reorganization to occur. Our mouse model, with all of the attendant genetic benefits, may allow us to determine at the cellular and molecular levels how behavioral training and endogenous plasticity interact to mediate recovery.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pain alters opioid reinforcement, presumably via neuroadaptations within ascending pain pathways interacting with the limbic system. Nerve injury increases expression of glutamate receptors and their associated Homer scaffolding proteins throughout the pain processing pathway. Homer proteins, and their associated glutamate receptors, regulate behavioral sensitivity to various addictive drugs. Thus, we investigated a potential role for Homers in the interactions between pain and drug reward in mice. Chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve elevated Homer1b/c and/or Homer2a/b expression within all mesolimbic structures examined and for the most part, the Homer increases coincided with elevated mGluR5, GluN2A/B, and the activational state of various down-stream kinases. Behaviorally, CCI mice showed pain hypersensitivity and a conditioned place-aversion (CPA) at a low heroin dose that supported conditioned place-preference (CPP) in naïve controls. Null mutations of Homer1a, Homer1, and Homer2, as well as transgenic disruption of mGluR5-Homer interactions, either attenuated or completely blocked low-dose heroin CPP, and none of the CCI mutant strains exhibited heroin-induced CPA. However, heroin CPP did not depend upon full Homer1c expression within the nucleus accumbens (NAC), as CPP occurred in controls infused locally with small hairpin RNA-Homer1c, although intra-NAC and/or intrathecal cDNA-Homer1c, -Homer1a, and -Homer2b infusions (to best mimic CCI's effects) were sufficient to blunt heroin CPP in uninjured mice. However, arguing against a simple role for CCI-induced increases in either spinal or NAC Homer expression for heroin CPA, cDNA infusion of our various cDNA constructs either did not affect (intrathecal) or attenuated (NAC) heroin CPA. Together, these data implicate increases in glutamate receptor/Homer/kinase activity within limbic structures, perhaps outside the NAC, as possibly critical for switching the incentive motivational properties of heroin following nerve injury, which has relevance for opioid psychopharmacology in individuals suffering from neuropathic pain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peripheral nerve injury causes spontaneous and long-lasting pain, hyperalgesia, and allodynia. Excitatory amino acid receptor-dependent increases in descending facilitatory drive from the brainstem rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) contribute to injury-evoked hypersensitivity. Although increased excitability likely reflects changes in synaptic efficacy, the cellular mechanisms underlying injury-induced synaptic plasticity are poorly understood. Neuronal pentraxin 1 (NP1), a protein with exclusive CNS expression, is implicated in synaptogenesis and AMPA receptor recruitment to immature synapses. Its role in the adult brain and in descending pain facilitation is unknown. Here, we use the spared nerve injury (SNI) model in rodents to examine this issue. We show that SNI increases RVM NP1 expression and constitutive deletion or silencing NP1 in the RVM, before or after SNI, attenuates allodynia and hyperalgesia in rats. Selective rescue of RVM NP1 expression restores behavioral hypersensitivity of knock-out mice, demonstrating a key role of RVM NP1 in the pathogenesis of neuropathic pain.
Journal of Neuroscience 09/2012; 32(36):12431-6. · 6.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vascular Early Response Gene (Verge) is an immediate early gene (IEG) that is up-regulated in endothelial cells in response to a number of stressors, including ischemic stroke. Endothelial cell lines that stably express Verge show enhanced permeability. Increased Verge expression has also been associated with blood brain barrier breakdown. In this study we investigated the role of Verge in ischemic injury induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in both Verge knockout (KO) and wild type (WT) mice. Verge KO mice had significantly less cerebral edema formation after MCAO compared to WT mice. However, stroke outcome (infarct size and neurological deficit scores) evaluated at either 24 or 72 hours after stroke showed no differences between the two genotypes. Verge deletion leads to decreased edema formation after ischemia; however acute stroke outcomes were unchanged.
Experimental and Translational Stroke Medicine 06/2012; 4(1):12.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Arc/Arg3.1 gene product is rapidly upregulated by strong synaptic activity and critically contributes to weakening synapses by promoting AMPA-R endocytosis. However, how activity-induced Arc is redistributed and determines the synapses to be weakened remains unclear. Here, we show targeting of Arc to inactive synapses via a high-affinity interaction with CaMKIIβ that is not bound to calmodulin. Synaptic Arc accumulates in inactive synapses that previously experienced strong activation and correlates with removal of surface GluA1 from individual synapses. A lack of CaMKIIβ either in vitro or in vivo resulted in loss of Arc upregulation in the silenced synapses. The discovery of Arc's role in "inverse" synaptic tagging that is specific for weaker synapses and prevents undesired enhancement of weak synapses in potentiated neurons reconciles essential roles of Arc both for the late phase of long-term plasticity and for reduction of surface AMPA-Rs in stimulated neurons.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), including mGluR1 and mGluR5, are G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) that are expressed at excitatory synapses in brain and spinal cord. GPCRs are often negatively regulated by specific G protein–coupled receptor kinases and subsequent binding of arrestin-like molecules. Here we demonstrate an alternative mechanism in which group I mGluRs are negatively regulated by proline-directed kinases that phosphorylate the binding site for the adaptor protein Homer, and thereby enhance mGluR–Homer binding to reduce signaling. This mechanism is dependent on a multidomain scaffolding protein, Preso1, that binds mGluR, Homer and proline-directed kinases and that is required for their phosphorylation of mGluR at the Homer binding site. Genetic ablation of Preso1 prevents dynamic phosphorylation of mGluR5, and Preso1(−/−) mice exhibit sustained, mGluR5-dependent inflammatory pain that is linked to enhanced mGluR signaling. Preso1 creates a microdomain for proline-directed kinases with broad substrate specificity to phosphorylate mGluR and to mediate negative regulation.